Another reason why I can justify not going to programmed church anymore is that I have discovered a better and purer representation of Kingdom ministry.
I spent 25 years professionally promoting Christian servanthood and missional living. Not only did I encourage others in this obviously biblical lifestyle, but I tried to program it for them through the church. I found that church members longed for opportunities to tangibly do some form of ministry, outreach or mission. And inside of this institutional bubble I believed I was doing exactly what God expected of me as an ambassador of the Kingom of God.
Since making my exit from professional ministry and local church participation three years agoI have entered into a new and (to me, at least) different yet fulfilling wilderness in which I can safely conclude that my role as Christ's ambassador is more representative of biblical discipleship. I now serve others because of a loving impetus for others and God placed in me by faith and the Spirit of Jesus.
It appears to me that what Jesus introduced in his incarnation was an unprogrammed, spontaneous, and direct form of love that had impact in the world. Nowhere do I read that he meant for committees, boards, or professional ministers to design and implement short term mission trips and weekend outreaches to be the outlet of a real faith experience. And yet those who enlist their volunteer time in such efforts are led by the professionals (like me) to believe they are pushing the envelope of involvement in what God wants for them. To make matters worse, participants in these spiritual endeavors tend to look down on others who do not get as involved since as I mentioned, missions and ministry are the best and purest things a church member can do - especially in an Americanized church.
I now am more aware of the needs of the world in which I live- not because I have been preached and programmed to do so but because as a follower of Jesus I can't stop it. The view I have of people is being filtered through a lens that transcends what the institutional church is currently providing. I wonder if the same thing shouldn't be true for all who claim to be citizens of God's transcendent kingdom on earth.